Before I Die Wall
Before I Die: Heartstrings and Hijinks in the Seaport
Taiwanese-American artist Candy Chang turned to art when channeling grief after the loss of a loved one. She created a simple art installation on the wall of an abandoned building in New Orleans, seeking solace and perspective. She covered the wall in chalkboard paint and stenciled “Before I die I want to _______.” Within days, the wall was filled with the aspirations of her neighbors.
Since the creation of this first installation in 2011, walls have been created in over 2,000 cities across 70 countries in over 35 languages. With each installment, seeds of kinship are sewn at the feet of strangers.
Before I die I want to make people feel loved.
Since August 2016, Seaport has had its very own Before I Die wall and it has been changing and evolving ever since. Each day, intimate pursuits are scribbled on the wall, from the fun and frivolous to the achingly profound.
Before I die I want to become the person my dog thinks I am.
Before I die I want to understand quantum entanglement.
Before I die I want to hug my mom.
The wall is so much more than a place to leave your mark. Within the colorful chalk scrawl there is pain, joy, love and hope. In our technology-driven society it is a place for us to collectively lift our heads and experience personal reflection, absolute honesty and beautiful human connections.
Before I die I want to raise my children the best I can.
Before I die I want to marry Cheryl – she said yes!
This past fall, Brazilian-born Paulo Arrais, principal dancer with the Boston Ballet, added another layer of creative expression to the wall with a performance art installment. He combined a simple audio track, reciting some of the writings on the wall, with beautifully choreographed movement to create a visual compilation of human experiences.
Before I die I want to dance.
Following the holidays, residents in the Seaport were pleasantly surprised to find the wall temporarily altered by a clever and talented local artist. Echoing the sentiments of many, the wall read, “Before I diet… One more cupcake.” This was more than an act of guerilla art; it was a continued conversation, a humorous poke at priorities. Through some social media savvy, the cupcake caper was located, and in a final response, a beautiful box of cupcakes is headed his way. Because if there’s one thing on which we can all find common ground, its cupcakes.
Before I die(t)… one more cupcake.